Spar Wars – Tyrone McKenna and Lewis Benson recall past gym sessions VERY differently


It’s fight week for Tyrone McKenna but his clash with Lewis Benson this Friday night in Glasgow won’t be the first time he and the Scot have shared a ring.

The pair sparred twice earlier this year and these sessions have become a real point of debate in the build-up to the ten-round clash at the Emirates Arena.

Benson [10(2)-1(0)] was the first to bring up the spars, claiming technical superiority.

This was quickly disputed by Paddy Barnes, friend of McKenna [16(6)-1(0)-1].

‘The Mighty Celt’ also has a different view of the spars and claims his opponent has put unnecessary pressure on himself.

McKenna recalled how “the first spar we had down in Liverpool, I absolutely battered him. Then we had another one during which I was comfortable without even getting out of second gear.

“I wasn’t really bothered about that second spar but I still handled him easily. He’s deluded and insane to say otherwise.”

Benson, though, is adamant that he dominated the spars, alleging that McKenna and his fellow Irish fighters are putting forward an alternate version of events.

The speedy Scottish fighter outlined how “Tyrone is lying about that sparring session and so are his mates. Everyone was there to see it.”

“If I can go down to Manchester and make Jack Catterall come out of second gear and heave Josh Taylor out of second gear, how would Tyrone be dealing with me in second gear? It’s rubbish.”

“The three rounds I sparred with Sean McComb were good solid rounds but ones with Tyrone… well, he knows what happened and everyone will see it on the night.”

“I really don’t understand him saying he’ll outbox me because he couldn’t even lay a glove on me in sparring

The sparring talk, McKenna feels, is going to leave Benson with egg on his face come Friday night .

The Lendaoon southpaw argued that “he’s put all this pressure on himself because now, if he doesn’t do what he’s been saying he’s going to do, he’s going to look like a fool in front of a lot of people.”

“He’s been saying he’s going to play with me and beat me comfortably but all he’s achieved is setting himself up for a big fall.”

“I don’t understand why he keeps talking about sparring. You know when you’ve been in a hard spar but when I sparred him, I didn’t even feel I had to dig deep. He’s just put pressure on himself and we’ll see how he deals with that pressure,” he added before questioning Benson’s mentality.

“This is the biggest fight of his career but it’s not the biggest fight of mine. I’m an incredibly mentally-strong fighter and nothing can scare or deter me.

“I know that in his head, he’s scared and he’s trying to build up his own confidence by telling these stories and making these outrageous claims about what he’s going to do.

Prediciting a stoppage, McKenna promised that “I’m not only going to beat Benson on points. I’m going to knock him out in a spectacular way. I’ve been working on a lot power during this camp, which has gone perfectly.

“Everyone knows I train hard and this was no different. We brought over the perfect sparring partners from Denmark and they’re like Benson but much better, so you’ll see the best Tyrone McKenna on the night.

“We’ve worked on all my weaknesses and we’ve strengthened my strengths so you’re going to see a more complete fighter on Friday.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com